Review of ostrich (Struthio carmelis) production and its adaptability to the Nigerian poultry industry
This paper reviewed the available literature on ostrich (Struthio carmelis) and ostrich farming. The, origin, physical and physiological characteristics, breeding, management, nutrition, diseases, ostrich products and adaptability in Nigerian poultry industry were discussed. Ostrich originated from the Saharan region and South Africa. It is a tall, herbivorous bird, weighing on the average, 115 kg for the male and 100 kg for the female. The male has penis, which can only be differentiated from the female’s clitoris at about 7 months of age. Ostrich has Long digestive tract, which is about 24 meters without a crop. It can digest high levels of fiber. During breeding season, onset of which depends on location, females lay about 50-100 eggs of 2.0-3.0 kg depending on type of habitat. In the wild, female and male both incubate the eggs during the day and night respectively, for about 42 days. Good number of ostrich can be found living in the wild (60,000 wild ostriches in Botswana). Domestication is made possible by captive ostriches and little breeding takes place in South Africa, U.S.A. and Australia. Nutrients requirements have not been established. This is taken presently, to be little below the requirements for turkey and diet is compounded as whole life cycle diet. Newcastle disease, cocciodiosis, microsporidiosis and osteomalacia affect ostrich. Meat, eggs, feathers and tendons are obtained from ostrich. In some countries, ostrich meat is in high demand because of its low fat and cholesterol content. There is limited literature on the Nigerian ostrich and its meat is not popular. Ostrich can be found in zoos and parks in Nigeria. Few commercial and demonstration farms can be found in the Northern parts of the country.
Keywords: ostrich, poultry industry, nutrition, domestication, Nigeria